This is the week we learn where my 4-year-old daughter will attend kindergarten next September. I devoted many hours last fall to composing an essay about her — an important essay, because it was for her applications to private schools. I spent more energy on this piece of work than I ever spent on my college or grad school applications.
Finding the right words to describe your baby, the one you had when you were 43, with one of the eggs you froze when you were 39, is no simple task.
I drafted it in my bedroom, over many days, while curled into the puffy purple recliner I still call “the Breast-Feeding Chair,” even though it’s been three years since my daughter pronounced herself “All done” and walked away from me, my breasts and the purple chair.
How do you paint a portrait of your child’s first four years on earth?
Be pithy. Your expressed love for your child must not exceed the allotted 500 to 750 word count on kindergarten applications. Still, though, when you illuminate her, you revel in the smallest details, like how she anthropomorphizes everything, including her pasta: “Oh poor little worms — I’m going to eat you now!”
Don’t boast. That’s pushy, and in the competitive world of kindergarten admissions, it’s lethal to present yourself as anything remotely resembling a PITA. (That’s “pain in the ass” in admissions speak.) No, you bear witness to your kid and report: how she pretends she’s Hercules when she helps place the bolster pillow on your bed in the morning, how she’s been known to approach disheveled hipsters and inquire, compassionately, “Are you homeless?” How she possesses an exceptionally good sense of joke structure. You may have to rein yourself in as you approach hagiography.
Choose your stories carefully. I don’t mention in the kindergarten essay that my husband and I call our daughter “Rasputin,” because she’s preternaturally unstoppable, and occasionally “The Emotional Terrorist,” when she doesn’t want to cooperate with our request that she be “a ninja sister” at bedtime, tiptoeing into bed so as not to wake her sleeping brother.
The application essay is a special kind of art form, and I polished mine carefully. Though I did get stuck on whether to use the word “diaphanous” to describe the “unicorn veil” my kid fashions on her head daily.
Around the time I’d sent my masterpiece to my husband for his editorial review, I received, utterly unexpectedly, an email containing another application essay, from 25 years earlier.
It was a letter of recommendation a college mentor had written for me, during the fall of my senior year, when I was applying for a graduate scholarship that would change my life. We had long been out of touch, but he had found it while cleaning out “the Augean Stables” of his office, as he put it, in preparation for his retirement. He emailed it to me with the subject line “an old chestnut found …” and wrote, “I hope you enjoy it; it surely made me smile … and I stand by it in its entirety.”
I read it in the Breast-Feeding Chair. It made me weep. It was an oddly painful read, this celebration of my 21-year-old self: the young woman it describes has everything to offer and the dauntless self-possession to offer it. According to the essayist, she has talent, curiosity and pluck. I remember her. And I know how rough her life will become, just a few short years after this was sent to the scholarship committee. I want to tell her, “Stay there! Roam those cobblestone streets, holding something by Virginia Woolf, for as long as you can. Meet friends in pubs where you can pet cats and talk about Antigone vs. Creon and never leave! Your mother will die too soon, and your heart will break in multiple ways for many years.”
If the things my mentor generously wrote about me were true then, are they still true? Did I squander any of that faith I earned? The scholarship that essay helped me win asked me to promise to “fight the world’s fight.” Had I? Do I?
My life has not, in many ways, ended up as I’d imagined. I thought my profession would be different. I thought I’d never get divorced. I presumed my kids would have a grandmother. I was certain I’d own a home, maybe have a master bathroom with two sinks.
And yet, I had no idea how fulfilled I’d be by the career I somehow created in a city where the cost of living means we must budget carefully so we can have some choice of where our kids go to school, even if it means we rent a two-bedroom sans washer/dryer; how I’d marry again — to a treasure of a man I never would have dated in college; how I’d finally become a mother through a journey so itinerant that my gratitude for my wee family makes me weep at least once a week. Or maybe that’s perimenopause.
But there’s no time to ponder existential questions; there are kindergartens to visit. I watch my daughter, her hair sprouting in doggy ear pigtails, wearing sequin stars, stride with curiosity into one of them. Nice ladies from the admissions team take her away from me, and she’ll be assessed in the room where it happens. I don’t know what she will say or whether she will draw a self-portrait with impressive details like nostrils — which are said to increase her chances of admission.
I do know she’s unburdened by anyone’s notions of promise. It’s not my business to assign her dreams for her future. She’s already my dream and has been since the moment of conception — or rather, since the implantation of the Day 5 Grade A blastocyst. She is formed; she has launched herself.
That’s it, then, I think, as I sit in a school lobby waiting for my girl to be returned to me, her hair bouncing as she runs into my outstretched arms: Can we love ourselves the way we love our children? It’s time I see myself as I see my daughter. A self-evaluation through the eyes of a mother I lost long ago.
Two essays, written a quarter-century apart, together teach me to focus not on promise, but on presence.
Faith Salie is a panelist on the NPR show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” and the author of the essay collection “Approval Junkie.”B:
【两】【兄】【弟】【感】【到】【窒】【息】，【眼】【睛】【里】【充】【满】【了】【震】【惊】，【说】【不】【出】【话】【来】 “【龙】【八】，【看】!” 【在】【中】【秋】【节】，【我】【喝】【低】，【拿】【着】【一】【个】【紫】【色】【和】【金】【色】【的】【龙】【矛】，【指】【着】【我】【的】【兄】【弟】【们】，【一】【步】【一】【步】【地】【往】【上】【走】。 【这】【两】【次】【攻】【击】【比】【闪】【电】【还】【快】，【不】【可】【阻】【挡】，【不】【可】【阻】【挡】。【卜】【家】【近】【代】【最】【有】【才】【华】【的】【两】【个】【人】，【在】【甲】【骨】【崖】【上】【刹】【那】【间】【被】【人】【杀】【阿】【死】【了】，【露】【出】【了】【不】【安】【和】【恐】【惧】【的】【表】【情】。
【怀】【着】【疑】【惑】，【莫】【言】【珅】【吩】【咐】【手】【下】【的】【人】【进】【入】【商】【场】，【开】【始】【扫】【荡】【物】【资】。 【跟】【着】【莫】【言】【珅】【一】【群】【人】【的】【还】【有】【几】【个】【年】【轻】【人】，【据】【说】【他】【们】【都】【是】【激】【发】【了】【异】【能】【的】【异】【能】【者】。 【当】【然】，【祁】【懿】【也】【在】【其】【中】。 【大】【概】【是】【因】【为】【她】【是】【这】【二】【十】【人】【的】【队】【伍】【里】【唯】【一】【的】【女】【生】，【所】【以】【站】【在】【那】【里】【特】【别】【显】【眼】。 “【真】【意】？” 【祁】【懿】【似】【乎】【这】【个】【时】【候】【才】【看】【到】【澜】【韶】【妧】，【现】【实】【一】【脸】【意】【外】
【说】【到】【这】【里】，【叶】【八】【卦】【很】【明】【显】【可】【以】【看】【的】【出】【白】【子】【情】【眼】【神】【中】【透】【漏】【着】【一】【种】【炙】【热】【的】【样】【子】，【好】【像】【这】【个】【门】【派】【对】【于】【他】【的】【吸】【引】【很】【大】【一】【样】。 “【外】【挂】【门】。” 【叶】【八】【卦】【想】【起】【来】，【这】【不】【就】【是】【他】【曾】【经】【忽】【悠】【花】【里】【横】【随】【手】【捏】【造】【出】【来】【的】【一】【个】【门】【派】，【如】【今】【怎】【么】【这】【外】【挂】【门】【在】【江】【湖】【之】【中】【都】【会】【占】【有】【一】【席】【之】【地】，【要】【是】【让】【白】【子】【情】【知】【道】【这】【个】【外】【挂】【门】【的】【开】【山】【鼻】【祖】【正】【闲】【情】【逸】【致】【的】河南22选开奖结果“【为】【什】【么】【不】【肯】【放】【过】【我】？”【沈】【晏】【之】【十】【指】【掐】【进】【泥】【土】，【脸】【上】【沾】【着】【泥】【土】，【漆】【黑】【的】【眸】【子】【里】【蕴】【着】【滔】【天】【的】【恨】【意】，【他】【用】【沙】【哑】【的】【声】【音】【质】【问】。 【一】【个】【艳】【丽】【的】【身】【影】【从】【重】【重】【包】【围】【中】【缓】【缓】【走】【出】【来】，【身】【后】【跟】【着】【好】【几】【名】【骄】【矜】【的】【侍】【女】【帮】【忙】【提】【着】【红】【裙】【的】【长】【摆】，【生】【怕】【脚】【下】【的】【泥】【土】【弄】【脏】【了】【衣】【裙】。 【正】【是】【燕】【国】【最】【尊】【贵】【的】【公】【主】，【王】【储】【的】【唯】【一】【人】【选】。【耀】【眼】【的】【火】【光】【照】【亮】【漆】
“【季】【嫣】【然】【难】【道】【真】【的】【喜】【欢】【他】！【这】【个】【秦】【子】【阳】【他】【到】【底】【是】【什】【么】【人】？【居】【然】【会】【让】【季】【嫣】【然】【这】【任】【性】【妄】【为】【的】【如】【此】【的】【青】【睐】！”【叶】【曼】【不】【由】【得】【好】【奇】【的】【看】【了】【一】【眼】【秦】【子】【阳】，【心】【里】【疑】【惑】【道】。 “【那】【嫣】【然】【公】【主】【可】【以】【和】【我】【出】【去】【说】【一】【说】【吗】？【这】【餐】【厅】【我】【是】【吃】【不】【安】【全】【啊】！”【秦】【子】【阳】【对】【着】【季】【嫣】【然】【邀】【请】【到】。【完】【全】【无】【视】【季】【嫣】【然】【一】【旁】【的】【脸】【色】【铁】【青】【的】【叶】【曼】。 “【子】【阳】【先】【生】，【你】
“【好】【重】！” 【在】【中】【拳】【的】【瞬】【间】，【小】【鲁】【伊】【兹】【只】【有】【这】【一】【个】【念】【头】，【然】【后】【整】【个】【人】【完】【全】【陷】【入】【了】【黑】【暗】【之】【中】。 “【嘭】！” 【小】【鲁】【伊】【兹】【重】【重】【地】【倒】【在】【了】【拳】【台】【上】，【发】【出】【沉】【重】【的】【撞】【击】【声】【音】。 【这】【声】【音】，【通】【过】【音】【响】【的】【放】【大】，【再】【度】【将】【所】【有】【人】【人】【吓】【了】【一】【跳】，【全】【身】【都】【是】【一】【激】【零】。 “【嚯】……【嚯】……” 【赵】【烈】【急】【喘】【两】【下】，【一】【边】【看】【着】【已】【经】【陷】【入】【昏】【迷】【的】